tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 3, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT
let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington. leading off tonight, mission accomplished. but how? did torture play a role in finding bin laden? did it really? did bin laden use a woman as a shield? how did the u.s. track bin laden back to that compound? and how can we believe our alleged ally, pakistan, when it says it didn't know? we've got the latest on the daring mission that nailed the world's most wanted villain. plus, this is a defining moment for president obama as well as for a generation of young americans. new polls out today show the president getting a bump in the polls. can it last until next november? also, it's the end of the silly season. what do republicans do when they are not talking about birth certificates and college
records? and our poker-faced president? we'll show you what president obama was saying publicly while privately of course he was approving plans to take out bin laden. and let me finish with the republicans. what can you say about a party that gives more credit to george w. bush than to president obama for capturing bin laden? we start with mission accomplished. we have a reporter for "the new york times" and an iraq war veteran and executive of iraq and afghanistan veterans of america. gentlemen, thank you both for coming. i want to ask a tough question which has been circulating with our producers and everyone here at "hardball." are you able to say, mark, as a reporter for "the times" going to deadline tonight whether torture was necessary to catch osama? >> well, all of the reports we have had so far that the information that led to the raid
on sunday night did some from detainees, but it doesn't come from what the cia called enhanced interrogation that took place in the few years after september 11. there were a couple of high value detainees who were waterboarded of course. but it doesn't appear that they gave up information that led to the raid during the course of this harsh interrogation. it doesn't appear to be a strong link at this point. >> so as far as you can report to us tonight, nobody broke under torture, under waterboarding, and gave up the name of the courier? or even the code name of the courier. >> no. the courier they had heard about, it was brought to ksm and another man, and in fact they denied ever knowing him, even after the harsh interrogation. and that raised suspicions of the cia that he was important because these guys were denying knowing him. >> that's interesting. paul, what have you been able to pick up the role that torture
played in getting the necessary information? >> i honestly have no idea, chris. mark is on the inside of that. the scuttle in our community, the military community, is really about pride and about almost awe of what the navy s.e.a.l.s can do, especially s.e.a.l. team six. >> i respect your service and your knowledge. tell us what you can give us in the iend kind of attack and the training and planning and execution that you found, that you do find, to be excellent or whatever, education on this case. what did you learn from this thing? >> well, this is what these guys do every day. this isn't a rare instance. this is at a higher level, but they train their entire lives for a moment like this. and i think it's important to recognize. we will never know their names. they won't get a parade in new york city or a ticker tape welcome. they'll go back to doing their job just like they have been every day since 9/11. they are an incredibly elite unit like nothing else in the world. over the next couple of days,
the american population and the civilian population is going to really find out how incredibly impressive and expert they are. >> mark, let me go back. boy, i wish i could say that as well as you did and mean it, but with the ground you have got, paul. let me ask you, mark, about this question of the role we know that was played by bin laden in his own demise. do we know if he used a human shield? did he grab a woman and jump behind her or anything like that? that was originally what we were getting from brennan. >> yeah. that doesn't appear to have been the case. we think there was one at least woman who was shot in the leg, but no one i have talked to privately has said that bin laden actually used a human shield. although one of the women did die being used as a human shield, but it wasn't by bin laden. >> let me ask but whether he resisted how he might have without a firearm. do you know what the means of resistance was?
>> no. we're still trying to learn more about that. that has been from when we talked to officials on sunday night, they said he resisted but there was no more detail than that. and it did come out today that he was never armed, so we are trying to find out how he may have resisted. >> do we know if he knew that the special forces were working their way up to his top floor? was he aware that he was about to get caught? >> well, presumably. he was a highly intelligent person. and one would have assumed that with an intense firefight going on, and it's confirmed he was killed toward the end of the firefight. >> that's what i thought. >> this was half an hour of intense fighting. he probably would have presumed that they ultimately would have gotten to the room where he was. unless, you know, he would have thought that all of the invaders would have been killed before they got to him. >> here's white house press secretary jay carney on what happened when the navy s.e.a.l.s
entered bin laden's compound. >> there was concern that bin laden would oppose the capture operation and indeed he did resist. in the room with bin laden, a woman, bin laden's wife, rushed the u.s. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed. bin laden was then shot and killed. he was not armed. >> if he didn't have his hand on a gun, how did he ri sift? >> the information i think resistance doesn't require a firearm. >> did he have any weapon? >> he was not armed, is what i understand to be true. >> paul, i respect your service. what are you hearing about this assault? what are fellow service people telling but it? they must be very proud of these fellas over there and what they did. >> overwhelmingly proud and impressed. and the military community has a tremendous reference for everybody in jsoc. think about the tactical proficiency and skill it would require to enter that room, shoot a woman in the leg and
take out bin laden with two shots while the president is watching. and that's an incredible amount of discipline, dedication, a whole life built toward a moment like that. and to do it with such professionalism. and that's why we call them the silent professionals. they'll do this job and they are probably off on another mission or being debriefed already. folks are already back at work in afghanistan. it's a testament to the larger military. think about the folks back on patrol in afghanistan or back patrol in iraq. our community really needed it. it's a big boost to the morale to everyone and our families back home. >> that raises a point, mark. reporters always try to get the information. but people on the inside on a secret mission like that, have to keep that information. this ability to the part of the servicepeople involved here, anybody was moving paper with regard to the orders and all of the provisioning of these guys and all of that effort, how do they keep all of that secret going all the way over to islamabad, to the suburbs there, all of that information in and out of the political people and
the service people? >> yeah. it is amazing secret that has been kept for months and months. as we reported today, dating back from last july, when they first laid eyes on this courier and ultimately tracked him to this compound. they started watching the compound 24 hours a day. for months. and then we know that the operation has been in the works for at least a month. and for this never to leak out, obviously those that knew about it were pretty good about keeping a secret. but as secrets go, this was about the most highly classified operation perhaps in american history. >> i keep thinking on my side i was at the white house correspondents' dinner saturday night, and there i am saying hello to my old pals. and of course bill daley, the chief of staff, talking social stuff and general politics. and all the time now, right, mark, these guys probably knew all of this because they were in the sit room, in that inner circle these guys, right?
>> that's right. it's a poker face. and, you know, there's hundreds and hundreds of journalists in the room. and i guess everyone was lousy about extracting any information. >> well, we weren't very good. let's take a look at "the new york times." you're reporting today on intelligence officials and how they found bin laden. prisoners in american custody told stories of a trusted courier. they began to intercept telephone calls and email messages between the man's family and anyone inside pakistan. from there they got his full name last july. pakistani agents working for the cia spotted him driving his car. he drove to the sprawling compound in abbottabad. american intelligence operatives felt they were onto something big, perhaps even bin laden himself. and back to you, mark. the role of pakistan. the fact that the director of intelligence, leon panetta, has now openly said in an interview i believe for "60 minutes,"
actually for "time" magazine, it's already out there, said that pakistan was not trustworthy as an ally. had we told them that, we would have had problems with them telling the targets, ratting out bin laden. i mean, actually warning him. >> yeah. we've seen this for years. >> that's a hell of a statement, by the way. >> there is a deeply troubled relationship between the united states and pakistan and the sort of dysfunctional relationship the cia has with its counterpart in pakistan, the isi. there was frustration where the u.s. had given intelligence to the pakistanis and there were suspicions that they tipped off al qaeda or the taliban or others. things are bad right now in terms of the relationship. but american officials publicly as you just said are being very blunt about all of this. now it should be said that the pakistani officials have vehemently denied that anyone in the government had any knowledge of bin laden's whereabouts all these many years. >> well, they would have had -- paul, you can get in here. paul, they would have had the intelligence if we gave it to
them, and that's the problem. if they didn't, and here is the question, we now look at pakistan the way that michael korl yono look the the his brother, not to be trusted. >> the intelligence has to be held very close and shared with only people that need to know. in that part of the world, you have to be really careful with the corruption and the rumor mill. that will compromise a mission quickly. it makes sense to me. i have been on operations where you keep information very close and on a need to know basis, and i don't blame them. >> thank you for your service always, paul. thank you for coming on. and thank you, mark, as well. coming up -- let's go to the politics. no doubt the killing of bin laden will be the defining moment of president obama's first term. how much of a bump in the polls will he get from it? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
only the third time that's happened at the "the times" in 43 years. the other two, march 48, 1968. it was a sunday when l.b.j. ruled out running for re-election. and election night back in 2000. unfortunately, didn't get the election right. "hardball" back after this. ♪ [ male announcer ] how could a luminous protein in jellyfish, impact life expectancy in the u.s., real estate in hong kong, and the optics industry in germany? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy.
i know that unity that we felt on 9/11 has frayed a little bit over the years. and i have no illusions about the difficulties and the debates that will have to be engaged in in the weeks and months to come. but i also know there have been several moments like this during the course of this year that have brought us together as an american family. whether it was the tragedy in tucson or most recently our unified response to the terrible storms that have taken place in the south. last night was one of those moments. wow. welcome back to "hardball."
that was of course was president obama talking to a bipartisan dinner meeting of congressional leaders at the white house last night. early poll numbers show some big changes in attitudes. a "washington post" pugh research center poll conducted monday finds a spike in the country's attitude about how things are going. roughly 1-3 now say they are satisfied. it was 1-4 in march. that's an uptick. the president's personal approval, however, has gone way up in this poll. he is up at plus 18 points now, and was at minus three last month. while the country is positive on the handling of terrorism, his handling of afghanistan still just 40% approve his handling of the economy. duh. it has something to do with reality. can finding osama bin laden prove to be a defining moment for president obama? howard fineman is the director for "the huffington post."
and todd perdham is the national editor. do i have to ask what republicans -- secular cannonization. the guy would be on mt. rushmore if w. had done this. carving the stone tonight, right? >> no question. >> the spiking of the ball. >> just like what george w. did, you know, on the aircraft carrier. >> without even doing it. >> it wasn't really mission accomplished. this really was mission accomplished. if it was the republicans, there would be fireworks everywhere. >> todd, do you want to venture a partisan assessment here? >> i think most republicans were quite effusive of the praise of the president. dick cheney couldn't have been more gracious. >> but 80% of the republican party give credit to president w. and only 60% of republicans give it to president obama. and that is really screwy. >> there will always be some guy that didn't get the word. >> well said. here is more from "the washington post"/pugh poll.
31% give president bush no credit. as far as who gets the biggest amount of credit, a grail deal as the poll puts it, democrats overwhelmingly for obama, and independents are about 2-1 for obama, republicans almost 2-1 for bush. 6-10 republicans say president obama deserves some credit for obama's -- for bin laden's death. but 8-10 republicans say president bush deserves some of the credit. i think they probably believe that reagan deserves most of the credit for everything. this is bizarreo, isn't it? >> it is bizarre-o, but i think even though the numbers are at best equivocal for the president among democrats, they are stronger among republicans. and i think overall this is a calling card for him in terms of the long burden that the democrats have had, and the democratic presidents have had, on the notion that they are either weak or inept on military affairs. >> how did they earn that rap?
>> well, one thing that happened in the jimmy carter days, he tri tri tried to rescue the american hostages, and it in many ways it sealed his fate and reinforced the idea that the democrats going back to vietnam, to the george mcgovern campaign where he was against the war and so on, that the democrats were both wary of, inept about, and opposed to the use, the expert use, of tough military actions. this is a case where president obama and his team were brave in the choices they made. they were surgical in what they did. and they succeeded to the utmost. and i think that's going to go a long way, especially when the republicans were likely to run, and the dominant and prominent republican contenders, have no military experience. now we're past that time. nobody has any military experience anymore. but now ironically, it's barack obama who's got the commander in chief experience. john mccain isn't running again. and i think it's a big tipping
point in my view, a big tipping point between the parties that didn't exist before. >> todd? ike was restrained. he didn't use military force hardly at all. carter didn't use it. but there's a difference between restraint and pa restrai restraint -- >> most of our lifetime it's been the reverse. but i think one of the things that president obama may have put to rest with this, there will be some people that never like him, but you really can't say he is not a man who has a certain amount of daring, because he did pick the hardest option. and, you know -- >> it also resonates what he did with the pirate that time on a smaller case. >> i think it resonates with the notion that we are not going to mess around. and the white house was quite successful in putting out those speeches from 2007 and 2008 in which at the time you'll recall people sort of mocked him. oh, yeah, if you saw bin laden you'd take him out. you shouldn't say that out loud because it will hurt our relationship with pakistan.
>> by the way, he's put a lot more troops in afghanistan, ok? he didn't put as many as some of the conservatives wanted. stepped up the present attacks with the drones. and here are the differences between president bush and dick cheney almost literally pushing the 500 daisy cutter bombs down onto iraq and not getting what they were targeting. and the approximate the getting the purpose that he was targeting. >> there's a difference between being cold blooded and being a sadist. i think presidents had to be cold blooded. >> i think most people would agree with that. >> but all the debate about whether osama bin laden was defending himself, whether he had a weapon or didn't have a weapon, let's face it. based on what we are thinking, the president's order was to shoot and kill. >> todd, you said some people never get the message. liz cheney and bill crystal put out a statement as leaders of
the group keep america safe. here is part of the statement. mow mention no no mention of president obama there. isn't this strange? let's watch. >> all i know is what i've seen in the newspaper at this point. but i wouldn't be surprised if in fact that program produced results that ultimately contributed to the success of this venture. >> the ministry of truth. what are we about here? the best evidence we've got from "the times," we're going to keep reporting this, maybe the nature of what the thing was, but torture. waterboarding did not get us the
names of the courier, did not get us to the compound. we're finding that out. what are you hearing? >> i think that's the clearest understanding to date. and to the degree that it did anything, it produced high ranking people who said they had never heard of the name of the courier which made our experts think he must be very important, and they were lying. as senator mccain said you do when you are tortured. stop the torture. >> it's much less of a some dramatic measure where somebody breaks under the cascade of water than it is a lot of intelligence -- >> using abbottabad. >> yeah. it's a lot of intelligence people painstakingly putting together thousands and thousands of little clues. these days a lot of intelligence is about mass data mining. it's about millions of bits and pieces of information. it's about crowd sourcing. it's about all kinds of stuff that dick cheney doesn't know that much about. >> did you like the idea that it still came down to a call, that it was 60% to 80%? it wasn't 100%. you know, dna isn't event 100%, right? >> the health debate in 1994,
nothing is ever 100%. >> but this was 60% to 80%. >> the president had two choices, to either bomb that place into oblivion and have there be questions about who was really in there, so we went for the higher value thing and got rewarded beyond his expectation because they found such a trove of documents there, hard drives and disk drives and flsh drives. you know, the things that we're going to get potentially out of that, besides the satisfaction of taking out justice on osama bin laden, are almost beyond calculation at this point. >> who did said that genius was the ability to take pains? was that d.h. lawrence? somebody like that? i think that's what it's about. like writing. both of you guys do great writings. how come you're a great writer? i'm careful. i work at it. >> my understanding is that the way the president operates as an administrator is he pops his head into meetings all the time. and he is a detail guy. in this case, he was in all those meetings. you can say that sometimes he, you know, he is too much lost in
the details or he sees too many complexities in. this case, we have trashed him a lot for being overly complex in his thinking sometimes. this is a case where his ability to deal with complex things really helped him evaluate it seems all the pieces of this thing. >> do you think we have ever picked a president we think is not as smart as we are? do you think that the right will even go that far? they are looking at people like palin they don't think is as smart as they are. do you think we'll ever pick somebody that people say, they are not as smart as me. i want them to be president. do you think so? >> my parents spent a lot of money on college and tuition that i hope we won't. >> i think that the shopping will be different for now on. they'll look for somebody as smart as obama. you think? >> i'm not sure. >> thank you, howard fineman. todd. i think of them when i'm here. president obama's poker face.
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you want to save this company money! that's exactly what i was saying. hmmm... priority mail flat rate envelopes, just $4.95 only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship. we're back. as the intelligence picture of where bin laden was grew clearer, president obama held five different meetings to capture or kill the terrorist leader. the method to get him was fiercely debated in the early sessions. but publicly, no drama obama put on his poker face. on the same day as one of those contentious national security council meetings in march, obama did a series of network interviews defending his decision to implement a new fly zone over libya and addressing the greater unrest in the middle east. >> and there are going to be some tough things that happen in that region over the next
several months and years potentially because there is a series of forces that have been unleashed. many of which i think over the long-term will turn out positively. but it's going to be a bumpy ride. >> a month later, april 27, the day before his fifth national security meeting where final details of the mission were likely ironed out, the president released his long form birth certificate, calling out donald trump and his like. >> we do not have time for this kind of silliness. we have got better stuff to do. i have got better stuff to do. >> yeah, better stuff to do like, i don't know, find and kill the most wanted terrorist on the planet. the following day, obama chaired his final top security session. on the mission. and he also named cia director leon panetta to be his next secretary of defense, and general david petraeus to be the cia director. the president offered up some eerie foreshadowing when he praised petraeus.
>> as a lifelong consumer of intelligence, he knows that intelligence must be timely, accurate, and acted upon quickly. >> that's for sure. that same night, president obama managed to crack a joke about those birthers at a democratic national committee fundraiser. >> my name is barack obama. i was born in hawaii. nobody checked my i.d. on the way in. >> he gave the final order for the operation on the morning of april 29th, toured the tornado damage in alabama later that day, and that evening gave a commencement address at miami dade college, and a vote september 11. >> when bombs fell on pearl harbor, when an iron curtain fell over europe, when the threat of nuclear war loomed just 90 miles from this city, when a brilliant september morning was darkened by terror, in none of those instances did we falter.
we endured. we carried the dream forward. >> well, the raid was scheduled to take place on april 30, saturday, but weather delayed the operation by one day, allowing the president to try his hand at comedy at the white house correspondents' dinner. as the hours closed in on the plot to take out bin laden, president obama took a shot at donald trump's decision making ability on "the celebrity apprentice." pay close attention to the last line. >> you, mr. trump, recognize that the real problem was lack of leadership, and so ultimately you didn't blame lille john or meatloaf. you fired gary busey. and these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. [ laughter ] >> wow. i think we knew what kept the president up that night.
anyway, up next, what a story. up next -- the death of osama bin laden may prove to be a defining moment for the 2012 republican field. their argument that president obama is weak to foreign policy lost its bite the other day, and they don't seem to have a candidate that can match up to be commander in chief like this one. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. this was me, best ribs in nelson county,
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were regaining ground heading into the close. silver prices led declines on the commodities front, plunging more than 7.5%, the biggest drop in 30 years. gold prices tumbled more than $16 during the session. both metals extending those loss in after-hours trading as well. oil prices also took a hit down more than 2% at the close of trading. and some late earnings tonight. cbs beat estimates and raised its dividend, and comcast, which became the parent company of nbc universal in the first quarter, topped forecasts as well. both stocks moving higher in after hours. that's it from cnbc. we are first in business worldwide, and now back to chris and "hardball." i'm going to love this segment. welcome back to "hardball." since september 11, republicans have taken hold of national security as one of their signature issues. but over the past few months,
the gop descended into a party that questions things like the president's birth certificate and his college grades. after the death of bin laden the other day, republicans get more serious. is this their defining moment as they prepare for 2012? jonathan martin is a great reporter on politics, especially, and michael is an msnbc political analyst and national syndicated radio host. and more to the point, you have been the guy chasing -- who is that guy in lesmis who kept chasing the guy and couldn't stop? >> john val jean. >> you have not stopped. no, you were the guy that wouldn't stop chasing him. you have been pushing this issue, as all americans have their soul, but why have you been on the war path on this one issue? how much interviews have you had with the president? >> five. >> in every one of them, you have talked about this. >> every one. >> and what have you gleaned from those interviews with the
president? >> well, i'm so glad that you asked it that way, because the president has got to be given credit for having done exactly what he said he would do. if you go back to the spring of 2007, when he started to say, i will move on actionable intelligence in pakistan if i don't have confidence in the pakistanis doing so, and i then perpetuated that question and would ask him time and again. many people didn't want to believe him. you know, the republicans did not want to accept at face value. they wanted to promote this notion of him being an other, more like them, whatever that might mean, than like them. and in the end, chris, he put the hammer down exactly as he said he would do. >> you know, i want to get to jonathan. it seems to me that this president is -- and i mean this positively -- cold blooded. i think people or chief executives of this country have to be willing to use the firepower or they shouldn't take the job. if you're not willing to use our military power if you're not willing to kill people when you
have to, you shouldn't take that job. this president is not a wimp about using power. in fact, i dare say he is pretty cold blood. he went after the pirates. he called for the contract. he called for the hit he did it again here. >> do you remember the speech he gave when he received the jo bell peace prize? i think that was a very telling address when he said basically that he is of course a lover of peace, but as the leader of a country, he looks after america's interests. and there are times when you have to project american force. and, yes, use weapons of war to protect american lives. so i think obviously that's what he's done here. but this does i think provide a problem for republicans. on the issue of this narrative. what you touched on, chris, the notion that he is somehow weak or, you know, unwilling to sort of use force. he doesn't like violence. he is sort of the faculty lounge guy who is unfamiliar with the u.s. military.
he has a ready response for that now for the next year and a half. he can say, well, you can ask osama bin laden about how soft i am. you'll find him at the bottom of the arabian sea. >> i think he is the man that shot liberty valance. here's the former rnc chair michael steele just yesterday calling on republican candidates to get tough when taking on the president. but he also pointed out the difficult position they find themselves in now. let's listen to michael steele. >> right now, the republican candidates for the nomination are not getting the traction they need to, to go up against the president of the united states, an incumbent president of the united states, who is a formidable campaigner, who is a heck of a fundraiser, and who has the wind of the economy and now some international success in his sails. >> michael, you talk to people all the time. do you think they are going to drop the crazy stuff? is this bad news for trump? only time i'm going to mention him tonight.
is it bad news for him and palin and backman? are they finished? >> how in the world does trump shut down this presidential aspiration in the next three weeks? that's his timetable, without having egg on his face. the problem, chris, for the gop is that they have so narrowed the base, and all the crazy talk incites the base, but offends most of the rest of the country. so are they going to continue to placate the base or try and grow the tent? i see no sign so far they are ready to grow the tent. they are content to be inslar, and that's a losing strategy. >> lindsey graham had a not so veiled shot at donald trump today.
>> he was talking about trump. >> he was talking about trump, there was little doubt in my mind when i talked to him on the phone yesterday that's who he had in mind, even though he didn't use trump's name. i think michael makes a fair point. but it is may of 2011. so there's a long way to go here. a lot of republicans i talk to say, yes, this has been something of a silly season. but this is a long primary. it will clarify itself. the process will work itself out. we will get a serious mainstream candidate. >> ok. >> if the economy does not recover, that person will be formidable come the fall of 2012. >> the problem is we're watching the nfl replacement season right now. look who is going to be in the debate this week on another network. it is the replacement season. look at these guys. tim pawlenty is for real. buddy roemer, party switcher. don't do too well in these kind of things.
michael, this is the replacement season. this is sort of how jack warden and what's his name and gene -- gene hackman coaching this team. your thoughts? >> look, i'm a political junkie. and i don't think i know half of them myself. and you've got romney on the sideline. palin. i don't think she goes. but she's on the sideline for this. how could -- i don't think he wants a piece of this either. romney is the strongest candidate, but i think he wants to stay out of as much of this primary skirmish as he can. >> quickly, john. 10 seconds. >> i was going to say that's thursday. tomorrow, though, washington, d.c., mitch daniels in town giving a speech on education. there will be a lot of folks watching that looking for clues as to what he says, and whether or not he is going to run. >> he he's not going to run. i'll save you time. thank you both. human nature tells me he is not
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she thought it was important for me to keep up with an american education. so she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, monday through friday, but because she had to go to work, the only time she could do it was at 4:30 in the morning. now as you might imagine, i wasn't too happy about getting up that early. a lot of times i would fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. but whenever i would complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, this is no picnic for me either, buster. i wish we had video of that, those two at the table in the kitchen, 4:30 in the morning, mother and son to be president. that is a story that obama often told about his mother as he
campaigned for president and fr most of us, about the only story we know about him had. now, as we learn more about his courage and poise president obama showed after going after bin laden, we will look at the role of his mother, of course in shaping his world view. janie scott's book called "the single woman, the untold story of barack obama's mother." janny, thank you so much for writing this book. i love the picture, i love the looks of this young woman this young american woman. she is so young and she had a baby with an african guy and that's always interesting, the women who step out, you know, go across racial lines, go across cultural lines and make a big decision there he is looking great. let me ask you, as you did this book and working on getting ready for publication, all that involves what were you thinking of these birthers, these wackos out there, we are all questioning whether she actually existed the way we are watching her, actually had -- american mother having an american kid and you knew it all as texturized reality, the absolute
wall of truth of it and listening to these jokers, what was your reaction to all of that? >> it was a little baffling, chris. i started working on this during the campaign and the issue did come up then but it kind of receded and so i really wasn't -- it wasn't a preoccupation of mine when i was working on the book. i did, though, in order to do this i spent two and a half years, i talked to close to 200 people, not a single person ever mentioned any knowledge of having spent any time in kenya around the time of the birth of her son. so i felt pretty comfortable about that when it resurfaced, a la donald trump, i have to say i was stunned, 'cause i thought it was pretty much a settled issue. and when it continued, i went back and reconsidered all the evidence and really came to the conclusion that you and everyone else had come to, that it was a classic conspiracy theory and all evidence to the contrary that you think would convince people otherwise was simply viewed as further evidence of a conspiracy. >> for the millionth time you can the only reason you engage
in such a conspiracy, way back before he was born, you intended him to be president some day this kid, barack obama with an african father, amazing plan in itself, heroic one, didn't have do it to make it american, it was when he had an american mother. let's talk about development. i think words worth is right, the childless father to the man and we are who we are very young and we begin to -- you meet somebody you went to high school with, they are very much like themselves 50 years later, some more pompous, of course, generally we are who we were when we were kids. when you looked at his birth growing one that mom and dad briefly, what was there that came out later? >> well, he had a very unconventional mother and that's are the story i was looking at, what was her life like? this was a person who you know, kind of broke the rules over and over again. you know, conceived a child with an african man at a time when nearly half the states in the country had laws against interracial marriage, went off to indonesia a couple years after a huge political and social upheaval in which
hundreds of thousands of people were killed, was a single, working mother at a time when very few people were doing that in profession, anthropology and international development in which men had traditionally dominated, so he had a very unusual parenting experience. i think one of -- in answer to your question, one of the interesting things that i stumbled upon in indonesia, write went several times during the course of working on this was the notion that there was something almost javanese about our president. this is a view you hear from indonesians, that having gone to school at a critical time in his development, between the ages of 6 and 10 in a culture that inculcate self-control in an extraordinary way, that was marked by that and people there who said he learned his -- his cool in indonesia in that period, incull kated through children in a culture of children and the notion that you would display emotion is viewed
as a loss of self. >> you see him today in that way, you see the president as he behavedst and conducts these dark arts of going after a bad guy like we did, you see that as cool, zen-like behavior? >> i do see a cool in him, as i think most americans do many people find it baffling. >> i do >> he, himself, has said that this is a product of probably several things, one of which is just innate temperament. >> janny, i'm not at all like president obama, i look up to him like that way, i guess, i don't know how behave that way. that mother looks so interesting and sewn gauging. i hope that book sells well. "a singular woman" about how this mother raised the president. thank you very much, janny. congratulations. >> thanks. when we return, let me return with a difference between president obama's reaction to the killing of bin laden and what it would have been like if a republican president had hdon it. we will be right back. and brewed the coffee. we heated the bathwater and gave kelly a cleaner ride to school.
let me finish tonight with a timely thought for evan, but especially for those on the progressive side of the american debate. imagine now, take your time, concentrate in your mind. now consider if it was a republican president who had had captured osama bin laden. suppose george w. bush or john mccain had done what has just been done, capturing this country's greatest enemy. do you think? do you think there might have been some element of bragging? you can just freaking imagine it. that president would have been
placed up on a pedestal so high, vad to take a space shuttle to reach it. he he would be up there with reagan. they would be calling for him to get the congressional medal of honor. it is the difference in the two parties. a man of the right would be patriot of the century, president obama for doing what they only dream of doing gets a week off from having to show his driver's license, a week off from trump and the asorted jackals always out there barking along the president's trail. i think the sister of that 9/11 victim we had on last night said it well when she said how good it was that the kill over all of our american friends ten years ago ended his days knowing that the friends of those american also come to get him, that we americans don't give up, we don't let our killers get away. well, that was something wonderfully american about what happened sunday, something right out of our culture, our myth, our spirit. the president and his people didn't strut about it. that's what makes them different. then again, the best cowboy heroes, the